For the past years, the WFSJ has been working to develop scalable capacity strengthening of Sub-Saharan journalists covering health topics.

To date the media in the Global South face a variety of individual and institutional barriers that prevent them from effectively accessing, appraising and translating evidence to the public. To address some of these shortcomings the WFSJ has decided to build a digital web/app-based platform – that will increase the accessibility and uptake of knowledge and evidence.

The platform will be structured as a virtual meeting room, and will enable journalists to connect with experts and vice versa through the communications officers of the universities/institutions with whom experts are affiliated. It will enhance the range of sources journalists can access, when covering science, health, agriculture, environment stories.

Other components of the platform will allow journalists to freely exchange info, ideas, content, with the idea it will ultimately facilitate collaboration on regional topics. It will also help monitor emerging projects and issues in the targeted regions, facilitate the organization and access of data sets. The other major component will be the learning and educational toolbox, to assure good practices in science/health focused journalism. The toolbox will include a wide range of material, checklists, fact sheets, to help understand the science, give pointers on how to best debunk fake information, etc.

The second phase of the project will lead to the development of an Open Verification Toolkit for Journalists. It will give you a predefined list of operations. For example:

  • View if there was an official publication linked to the data
  • Reveal the data linked to the source
  • Cross reference the article with other publications on the subject
  • View if any other journalist checked/vouched for the research behind the information

However, we would welcome further input from the WFSJ Member Associations and partners, to help widen the scope of the tool. This could be through suggesting extra content, resources, proposing third-party applications that could feature in the tool, and or introduce us to potential IT, institutional or business partners.

Please send your suggestions to Christophe Bourillon